Hungarian Kielbasa, Cabbage and Turnip Slow Cooker Stew

Hungarian Kielbasa, Cabbage and Turnip Slow Cooker Stew

 

It’s still winter.

Although, technically, in a few days it will be spring. Yesterday, we had 50 degree weather and today it’s back to the cold with a high of 38. Brr….I keep hearing we are having a slow start to spring and it’s making my summer-lovin’ friends and family very frustrated.

For Christmas, my sister Christine bought our other sister, Kelly, a slow-cooker crock pot. Kelly doesn’t cook often so I thought this was a good gift because it allows you to throw in a few ingredients, turn it on, let it sit for several hours, and then voila – you have a fantastic meal ready to eat.

A week ago, Kelly made a pretty good beef stew. She’s letting me borrow it and I wanted to make a Hungarian meal, since we are half Hungarian, to celebrate my dad’s side of the family.

Ooooh! Speaking of dad… he’s home from the hospital! His cancer cells look as if they’ve finally disappeared and he’s considered in remission. Right now, that word: remission, is my new best friend. I’m so thankful for all the prayers and love that has gone out to my dad from all our friends, family and the church community. He’s very very happy to be home.

Side Note: While researching online for similar recipes out there I found this one of a corned beef version of the slow-cooker meal from a fellow food blogger, Lisa, at snack-girl.com I love brisket, so I bookmarked this one for another time.

Hope you’re all enjoying these last days of winter!

Kielbasa Cabbage Turnip Slow Cooker Stew

Kielbasa Cabbage Turnip Slow Cooker Stew

Serves 6-8
Kielbasa Cabbage Turnip Slow Cooker Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 turnip
  • 1 small cabbage
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 keilbasa links
  • 3 small potatoes (any kind you like)

Directions

Chop turnip and potatoes into 1 inch-sized pieces.
Chop cabbage into bite-sized pieces.
Slice kielbasa links in half (length-wise) and then slice them into 1/2 inch-sized pieces.
Turn on slow cooker and set to high setting.
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, starting with the keilbasa. Add spices last.
Pour in 6-8 cups of water. I added 8 for my stew, but 6 cups will make it less soupy and more dense.
Stir ingredients to mix them, then cover slow-cooker and let cook for 6-8 hours or until turnips and cabbage are soft.
Poached Egg on Savory Breakfast Crostinis

Poached Egg on Savory Breakfast Crostinis

 

Hey everyone… quick update on my dad…

He’s doing better and better each day. He finished his second round of chemo a week ago and the doctors are now watching his white blood cell counts and waiting for them to go back up to a normal level. With leukemia, you have to kill off pretty much every blood cell; the cancerous ones AND the good ones. That’s the way the chemo works for my dad’s particular leukemia (AML subtype: M2). Once the counts are up, he can go home. Obviously, he’s getting very antsy being stuck in one place for more than a month. Half of my last posts I write from the hospital room while he’s sleeping. Please send prayers out to him. Here’s to hoping cancer’s butt is kicked!

Now, onto some yummy food…

Walking through the grocery store last night I spotted the half-off day-old bread rack. Jackpot! I love a good sale. On the rack was a small loaf of sliced Italian bread. One of my favorite things to do with semi-stale bread is to make crostinis. And breakfast crostinis are simply scintilating.

For this tasty treat I used whatever ingredients I had at home. Lately, it’s been easier to cook with the bare essentials since half of my week is spent driving back and forth to the hospital to see dad, on top of work and spending time with the boyfriend. I haven’t even looked at my laundry basket yet – yikes!

A quick look in the fridge turned up an almost-too-ripe beefsteak tomato, some garlic cloves, a bag of spring leaf veggies, mushrooms, and part skim ricotta cheese. Okay.. hold the phone… skim ricotta? Ewwww… I must have grabbed this without reading the whole label. I almost NEVER buy skim anything — I figure dairy products were meant to be tasty with that delicious extra fat and if I want to be fit, I’ll just eat that great stuff in moderation and excersize. Skim = blech! Okay… done ranting. :)

Poached Eggs on Cheese Crostini

Cheese Garlic Tomato Crostiis

Cheese Tomato an Garlic Crostinis

 

Cheese, Tomato, Mushroom and Garlic Crostinis Topped with Poached Egg

Ingredients

  • 1 sliced tomato, medium - large size
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 handful fresh grated cheese of your choice
  • 1 handful small baby bella or other small mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 loaf of bread, sliced (I used Italian, but french baguettes work great as does any type of small loaf)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon egg
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
Layout sliced bread on a cookie baking sheet, laying each piece flat and next to each other. You may need more than one cookie sheet depending on how many crostinis you want to make.
Drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil on each slice. It's okay if some of it ends up sliding off the bread onto the pan.
Spread ricotta cheese on each slice.
Sprinkle other ingredients (cheese, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes) on each slice.
Put pan in oven and bake for 10 minute or until cheese is bubbling and edges of bread are golden brown. Enjoy!

Note

This recipe serves one. If you want more egg-topped crostinis, just add more eggs. Also, you can wing it with the ingredients. I just used what I had on hand. Things like sauteed onions or grilled brocoli or kale are also wonderful on crostinis. Have fun!

 

 

The best mashed potatoes you will ever eat! (and a side of apple cinnamon pork)

The best mashed potatoes you will ever eat! (and a side of apple cinnamon pork)

 

Wow! I finally have a second to sit down. With my dad being in the hospital the last few weeks, my life has been a mix of work and spending nights with him. He’s had two rounds of chemo treatments (both were 7 days straight) that will hopefully put his acute myeloid leukemia (subtype: M2) into remission. Its been a rough road with lots of ups and downs and this morning dad got a preliminary report from the doctor saying he may be able to go home in less than two weeks. He hasn’t looked so happy in a while. I know he can’t wait to get better and go home. His friends at church miss him and even a few have some questions about what to expect with chemo treatments. One has a daughter who will need chemo soon. It breaks my heart to hear of kids with cancer.

Speaking of kids and cancer…. I almost forgot. This past weekend was Penn State’s THON.  If you  don’t know what THON is, you are in for a treat. It’s a massive year-long fundraising effort done by college students that culminates in a 46-hour no sleep, no sitting dance marathon. All the money goes to the Four Diamonds Fund which helps kids and families of kids with cancer and just happens to be the largest student-run philanthropy in the world!  There is a place in my heart forever for THON. I danced as a student and it was one of the hardest most rewarding weekends of my life. Seeing the faces of the kids who’ve been helped by the fundraising (which helped them get treatments), is one of the best feelings in the world.

Penn State THON 2014 Results

Since it’s a fundraiser, each year the students create a promo video to help spread the word. The executive director of THON said this at the end: “We always say that the greatest dance marathon will be the one that we won’t have to have. Until then, until all childhood cancer is cured, we will keep dancing, keep THONing and keep fighting for the kids.”

Awwww….

Since my dad got diagnosed with leukemia, I’ve become obsessed with finding foods that are high in antioxidants (foods that can help prevent cancer from forming or spreading). Lots of foods that I thought were high in antioxidants were broccoli, cranberries, oranges, and any of the green veggies. Interestingly, when I did a search for “antioxidant foods” I found a top 20 list on WebMD.com that had some items that surprised me, like artichokes, pecans and various beans. But, things like broccoli and green veggies were not on it. Hmmm…. Maybe they are just not as potent as the other items.

Russet potatoes were on the list, however, and I love using these for mashed potatoes. Another one on the list: Granny Smith apples. I made the apple cinnamon pork marinade with these apples. Actually, I made the meal before I found the WebMD list, so I didn’t even know those type of apples or potatoes were high in antioxidants. The things you learn on the web. :)

I’ve never made a pork marinade before and I was very pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The pork was juicy and tender and really went well with the apples and cinnamon. I have to say it was definitely boyfriend-approved, too!  He didn’t speak while we dined, which usually means he’s busy devouring something yummy.

Recipes for both apple cinnamon marinated pork and creamy mashed potatoes are below.

I know my dad would love these mashed potatoes and once he gets better, I’ll make him a heaping plateful!

Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Marinated Broiled Pork with Garlic Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Apple Cinnamon Broiled Pork

Apple Cinnamon Marinated Broiled Pork and Garlic Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Apple Cinnamon Pork Tenderloins (Marinated)

Perfect, juicy, pork tenderloins baked in an apple cinnamon marinade.

Ingredients

  • 2 sliced or cut pork tenderloins
  • 3 small-medium granny smith apples (golden delicious work wonderfully, as well)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup oil (I used olive oil, but any vegetable oil will work)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon apple cidar vinegar (or white wine)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Chop apples in to small peices
Put thawed pork tenderloins in a medium or large ziplock bag
Add apples, garlic, (olive) vegetable oil, cinnamon, salt and vinegar to the bag
Seal bag and gently toss it around to cover the pork with the marinade
Store bag in fridge for 4-12 hours. The longer it marinades, the better.
When ready, place pork tenderloins and marinade sauce in a glass (pyrex) or metal square cooking pan (at least 2 inches deep)
Poor 1 cup of water in the pan and place in oven
Cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until meat is a tan color (not pink) on the inside

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

The best creamy mashed potatoes you will ever have!

Ingredients

  • 6 small russet potatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon ranch dressing (I used ranch dressing, but dried ranch dressing powder also works)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pinches pepper, to taste
  • 2 oz. cheddar cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander (this is optional, but I think it really gives it a special something)
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

Dice potatoes and boil for 10 - 15 minutes, or until soft.
chop cheese and garlic into small pieces.
Once potatoes are boiled, pour into strainer.
Put potatoes and all other ingredients in a large bowl
Mix well until ingredients are blended and potatoes are smooth. Serve and enjoy!
Watchin’ the Sochi Olympics and Sippin’ Tea

Watchin’ the Sochi Olympics and Sippin’ Tea

I found these little gems at my local Goodwill last week… tiny international-themed glass mugs. Aren’t they cute? There they were on the shelf, mixed with other odds and ends, calling out to me. And they were only 69 cents each. How could I say no?

Since the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are on, I thought how cute would these be to show off a little international flair while sippin’ some tea! The tea I used is one of my favorites: Yogi Honey Lemon Throat Comfort tea.  This stuff is great for a sore throat, and even though my throat didn’t hurt, I was craving lemon.

I live in the north and it’s been snowing like crazy all day.  To give you an idea of how bad, we’re getting this storm. (and, yes, it’s that bad… we have about 9 inches of snow on the ground right now).  Luckily, I was able to leave work early and snuggle up on the couch and catch up on the Olympics. I love this time of year and love the winter Olympics. Hope you’re enjoying them, too!

Sochi Olympics 2014 International Mug Honey Lemon Tea

 

Sochi Olympics 2014 International Mug Honey Lemon Tea

 

 

 

Broiled Salmon with Asparagus

Broiled Salmon with Asparagus

On a lazy Saturday afternoon, the smell of broiled salmon, butter and sauteed asparagus wafted throughout the house. Mmmmm….

I wanted to post this a while back, before my dad was diagnosed with acute leukemia.  But, of course, life intervened. When he’s better, I can’t wait to make it again sometime for him to try.

This recipe involves sauteeing a few veggies and then adding them to the pan before broiling.  It’s a little extra work, but the end results are amazing. And, if you have help, maybe a friend or your husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend, you can make it a fun date night!  My boyfriend help me with this one and he was the best veggie chopper.  He insists on handling the veggies.  Hey, not gonna complain there!

Veggies and Salmon

Mmm…. asparagus. I love the color of asparagus as it’s cooking. It goes from a pale forest green to a brighter, livelier green.  Asparagus goes so well with fish, especially salmon.  The veggie really complements it.

Asparagus and Veggies

At first, I wanted to call this dish “Impress the In-Laws”, because it’s savory and sophisticated. It’s the kind of dish you would order at a really nice restaurant and looks like it took hours to cook.  And it only takes 15 minutes to prepare (with a little time to broil).

Broiled Salmon with Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium salmon filets (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 handful fresh asparagus stalks
  • 1 Medium tomato
  • 1 stalk green onion
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil ((or vegetable oil))
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered tarragon spice ((optional: I had this in my kitchen so I thought I would try it out and ended up liking it))

Directions

Preheat oven by setting it to broil at 350 degrees.
In a square or rectangular pan add 1 tablespoon of oil. This is to prevent salmon from sticking. I use olive oil because I love it.
Chop up garlic and green onion into small slices.
In a small frying pan, sautee onion and garlic until a light brown and a little crispy.
Add salmon to pan and sprinkle sauteed veggies over the top and around salmon. Sprinkle a little olive oil over it.
Place pan in middle of center rack in the oven. Broil for 10 - 15 minutes or until a fork place in salmon shows it is flaky and soft (when it's hard, it's overdone).
Take pan out of oven and let cool. Enjoy!

 

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